This is one soup that I won't be passing on the recipe for. Well, not until I find a raw ham hock, instead of a cooked one.
You see, I really should have worked out that if you use a cooked ham hock in a slow cooker soup, you stand the chance of ruining the whole thing because of the salt content.
It all started so well, too.
I actually remembered to put the split peas in to soak - and from what appeared to be just a handful of split peas, they swelled up to a quite sizeable amount! I needed them to do that, as I was getting a little bit nervous as to whether we'd have enough for everyone at the end of it all.
I had thought to put the slow cooker on overnight, but it suddenly dawned on me that if I did that, the soup would have been cooking for a good 24 hours - which was rather more than intended. In the recipe (from the "Prestige Book of Crock Pot Cookery"), it said to cook for some 10-12 hours on low - so I compromised and went for 8 hours on medium.
It had been smelling great and when I lifted the lid to remove the ham hock to strip the meat from the bones, I had a little taste. Mmmmn, it was yummy - and tasted just like the canned Pea & Ham soup, except better.
I tried to mash the peas as it said in the recipe, but wasn't getting anywhere, so out came the hand-held blitzer and I blitzed probably around two-thirds of the content - leaving just enough for a bit of texture.
I'd tasted the meat and had registered that it was rather salty, but was so full of "is it the right flavour?" and "is it the right texture?" and "is it okay for hubby/son & heir", not to mention "oh flip, I've forgotten to heat up the bread rolls", that it didn't occur to me to be conservative over how much of the meat I included in the soup. So it all went in and the longer it sat there, the saltier the soup got.
I ate all mine (didn't have any bread rolls, you see!), son & heir did a great job with his, but hubby just couldn't handle the saltiness and so baled out at an early stage.
Dammit - I quite thought I'd sussed the problem of not being able to buy a raw ham hock!